COO | ASCIRA Global | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Belynda Lee, COO of ASCIRA, is a dynamic corporate executive who has built international solid industry relationships with key corporate vendors and sales teams and has an excellent reputation that shows in the retention and loyalty of high-profile, high-volume business associates. She has an exceptional track record that demonstrates self-motivation, creativity, and initiative to achieve personal and corporate goals.
What do achievements mean to you?
Achievements can be a rewarding experience of gratification. It is a report card that shows you what you have done over time and guidance on whether you are on the right track. Achievements could be big or small. It could come quickly or result from years of hard work. But it is a validation of your effort and inspires you to do more.
What excites you most about the work that you do?
I love the transformation. I like to transform something from nothing. I love to take a vision and then create something tangible. As a continuation of the previous question, that tangible project is your achievement. But what excites me the most is the process of that transformation.
Do you have a mantra or motto that you live by?
I just don’t give up. I don’t believe in the word impossible because I feel there’s always a solution to all problems. We just need to have a value system that helps us to keep going. Whatever adversity you face, you just must show up to work and address the issue. That will automatically help you move forward.
What makes you yourself?
I know who Belynda Lee is. Many people are uncertain about themselves, their strengths, and their weaknesses. But I am sure I know exactly what my strengths and weaknesses are. So that helps me to focus on my abilities and do the best I can, rather than waste energy on things I can’t do.
“Work hard and play hard. I work hard, and I expect my team to work really hard to be very professional. But everyone should have time to relax and play and enjoy themselves. We need to understand that balance is very important in life.”
— Belynda Lee
At 16, I sold cassette tapes door to door in a building. I had 500 cassettes to sell. The first few attempts went futile because the recordings were in Chinese, and I had no idea what I was selling. I even got the door slammed a couple of times. I revised my tactics and asked the potential customers to explain the content of the cassettes to me. They looked at the cassettes, and I was sold out! I learned my first marketing lesson that instead of trying to hard sell a product, you should make a connection with the customer.
Work hard and play hard. I work hard, and I expect my team to work really hard to be very professional. But everyone should have time to relax and play and enjoy themselves. We need to understand that balance is very important in life.
Currently occupied with (business/job related activities)
I am focused on creating a solid foundation for ASCIRA’s rapid global growth through organizational alignment, execution, and quality, with a never-ending focus on the end customer. I believe my role in ASCIRA will be an opportunity for tremendous growth – on both professional and personal levels.
In the past two years I have helped to build a million-dollar company in a totally foreign city like Dubai. I would say that is a great success. It has been a great learning process. I feel very accomplished even though we have had challenges like any business would. But I think that uprooting myself from North America and coming here, not knowing what the living conditions are, giving up my two dogs, etc., have been quite an adventure.
How do you stay motivated?
I refuse to be defeated. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t want to lose. And this thriving for getting things done gives me the stamina to stay self-motivated.
My guiding principle is a sound value system, the same system that was inculcated into me by my family. It is based on loyalty, integrity, and ethics. These factors are critical to me. Without commitment, it’s tough to accomplish anything. I feel that my job is more of a marathon, and I do need loyalty around me to achieve the goal, whether it be short-term or long-term.
Definition of leadership
I think great leaders are the anchors that empower others. They stand behind their team to help everybody get to the finish line together.
Growing up in a large joint family in a large mansion in Watten Estate, Singapore, my first role model, and an icon was my grandpa Lee, a timber merchant. Through the gregarious man, I learned the basics of business ethics, customer relations, and quality of service. Living with more than 20 family members under one roof, I learned to understand human dynamics, teamwork, and even a little bit of politics.
Like best about job
I like the challenges. They continuously motivate me to improve and keep me going to achieve the next target.
Like least about job
It is a 24/7 job where you can never really switch off. Even when I am unwinding or watching TV, there is always something coming up that needs your attention.
What are you really into outside of work?
I enjoy shopping. I want the finer things in life.
I don’t like pretentious people. I would rather people be honest with me and get the job done instead of trying to impress me with their words and do a shoddy job. Integrity is significant to me, and I want people to give their 100% to anything they do.
Not having enough time to do everything I want to do.
Idea of perfect happiness
To be able to do whatever I want. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it must be close to excellence.
My biggest strength is tenacity. Besides that, I’m very focused on whatever I do. I have clarity in what I want to do, which helps me achieve more things in life.
Characteristic most admired
People who never give up. Ascira CEO John Sachtouras is one of those people. Honesty is also fundamental to me. Honesty is transparency, where you don’t have to pretend to be somebody and lead people to believe something that is unreal.
Most influential book read
Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof. It was about how women were sold into marriages or arranged marriages and tortured and abused. It resonates with the real lives of many women, and I got to thinking about how women are being mistreated. That led me to my women empowerment mission and eventually to the Spotlight Talk Show.
Most ecstatic moment
When I had my two children.
When it’s all over, how do you want to be remembered?
As a woman that stood behind other women, I want to be a role model who teaches other women that they have choices in life.
How do you manage social media?
I don’t have a social media agent or a PR agent. When I feel that there is something to share which is inspirational or positive, I just share it.
Countries you would like to visit
Favorite hotel (brand)
Favorite apparel (brand)
Any great Chinese hotpot
Favorite car (brand)